Why Nikola Jokic deserves to win MVP

Nikola Jokic Ivica Zubac
Nikola Jokic is the MVP frontrunner. Photo from Forbes.

Nikola Jokic deserves to win the NBA 2021 MVP award for a couple of great reasons. The only player that comes close to him is Joel Embiid. Putting up ridiculous all-around stats, being available every game, and leading the Denver Nuggets 4th in the tough Western Conference are enough to seal Nikola Jokic’s MVP case in 2021.

Now, let’s dive deeper into why Nikola Jokic deserves to win the NBA 2020-2021 MVP award.

Stats

First and foremost, let’s look at the stats.

Nikola Jokic’s regular season averages look like it’s from a video game. He’s currently averaging a near triple-double with 26.4 points, 11 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game. He’s putting up these numbers with great efficiency as well—57% field goal percentage, 40% three-point field goal percentage, and 86% free throw percentage. All career highs!

(Jokic’s per 36 minute stats are almost the same).

Insane. He’s literally doing everything on the court—whether it score, rebound, make plays, and even protect the paint. At 6 ft 11, he is the whole package. He’s the most complete player in the league and he’s doing this while helping his team win.

Winning Impact

The Denver Nuggets are No. 4 in the wild Western Conference. Jokic has been pretty much willing his team every night to win while missing his co-star Jamal Murray due to ACL injury, and Michael Porter Jr. earlier in the season due to COVID-19.

Furthermore, the Nuggets are No. 5 in offensive rating in the league (compared to Embiid’s Sixers which are 13th in offensive rating). And this is of course, with the doing of Jokic. He pretty much orchestrates every play. Since he is an outstanding playmaker, he can punish double teams and pass it to his teammate for a wide-open three or an easy layup.


Jokic’s passing ability is one of the reasons the Nuggets are fun to watch. Being the Most Valuable Player doesn’t mean that you have to put up 40 points every game. Almost everyone in the league can score. With his playmaking ability, he can make his teammates succeed as well. And that’s what an MVP is all about—making your teammates better.

Availability

Availability is the best ability. Health is the reason he has an edge over Joel Embiid as the MVP. As of this writing, Embiid only played 48 games (due to injury) compared to Jokic’s perfect 67 games this year. Jokic playing every game in this injury-plagued season is one of the biggest reasons he should be considered to win MVP.

With the way he plays, Jokic really takes care of his body well. He doesn’t do anything that puts a tremendous amount of stress on his body. he doesn’t jump that high and he’s not that explosive either. It’s ironic enough that the most unathletic-looking player is the most healthy player.

Availability also leads to consistency. By being consistent, you are helping your team succeed on a nightly basis through highs and lows.

Intangibles

Let’s face it. We all love watching Jokic play. It’s fun to see him bully big men in the low post, shoot a three-pointer when players don’t closeout, and pass the ball accurately. Not to mention, his awkward and unorthodox one-legged fadeaway shot as well.

Off the court, he’s a fun guy as well. He often jokes and messes around, just fitting of the name “Joker”. It’s hard to hate him.

As you can see, Jokic is revolutionizing the center position. A center doesn’t have to be in the constraints of playing in the low post and bang bodies. A center should do just what a basketball player should do—to dribble, pass, shoot, and defend. That’s what basketball is all about now, being positionless.

We’ll definitely see a new generation of big men who are a complete package like Jokic. And we’ll remember Jokic as the one who blazed the trail for centers.

The NBA might have a hard time choosing between those two. While we also love Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic’s MVP case is stronger based on the reasons stated above. It’s clear that consistency and availability should be a great factor in choosing who is the Most Valuable Player in the league.

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About Jeremy Mallari 124 Articles
Jeremy lives and breathes basketball. He's an avid NBA fan for almost a decade now.

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